The academic half-day curricular format has become increasingly common in residency programs nationwide over the past decade. Previous studies of the academic half-day have demonstrated improved attendance, satisfaction, well-being, and in-training exam scores. The authors’ aim was to determine whether participation in a pediatric residency program that employs the academic half-day impacts scores for the American Board of Pediatrics certifying exam or in-training exam.
This was a retrospective, multi-center, case control study. The authors recruited pediatric residency programs through the Association of Pediatric Program Directors Longitudinal Educational Assessment Research Network in 2018. Each site reported whether they deliver the majority of their structured curriculum via an academic half-day; they also submitted de-identified data for the graduating residency classes of 2015-2017 (United States Medical Licensing Examination Step 1, in-training exam, and board exam scores). Linear mixed-effects regression models were fit to predict exam scores from conference format, controlling for Step 1 score, class year, program size, setting, and clustering in programs.
15/24 (62%) of invited programs participated, providing data for 523 residents. 9 programs (60%) were academic half-day programs comprising 297 residents (57%), and 6 (40%) were non-academic half-day programs comprising 226 residents (43%). The authors found no significant difference in in-training exam or American Board of Pediatrics certifying exam scores between residents participating in academic half-day programs and those participating in non-academic half-day programs.
This study suggests that pediatrics residents who train in programs with academic half-day curricula perform similarly to residents who train in programs without academic half-days on the in-training exam and American Board of Pediatrics certifying exams.